Leelanau County: Raptor Mecca

bDSC_6072The Grand Traverse Insider has a very interesting feature that explores what makes Leelanau County so attractive to birds, especially raptors. They asked Dave Barrons, educator and former Chief Meteorologist for TV 9&10 News about it, and he explained:

“The large raptors don’t like to cross water,” he said. “In fact, most birds don’t. We have a significant spring flyway for the large hawks; the Leelanau Peninsula funnels them up to its tip where they wait for the thermals to lift them across the water.

“I’ve seen as many as 300 hawks climbing on the lifting warm air, rising up until they can see Whitefish Point and then drop down into Canada.”

Leelanau’s geographic location means that many southern bird species reach the northern limits of their range and many northern birds reach the southern limits of their range in our area.

Also, a transition zone between northern and southern forest types occurs in the middle of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula; located just north of this zone, the Leelanau Peninsula counts a greater number of conifers in its forests than do southern Michigan counties, providing shelter and food for migrating birds.

Read on for more including information about an event we’ll be featuring on Leelanau.com, the inaugural Leelanau Birdfest!

Photo Credit: Untitled by cyoas55